Visiting Rincon de la Vieja
When planning a vacation to Costa Rica, it is difficult to decide which activities to choose. Do you crave aquatic adventure? Gorgeous nature hikes? Therapeutic relaxation? Wildlife watching? Why not visit Rincon de la Vieja National Park and do them all!
Along with the three other major volcanoes–Santa Maria, Orosi and Miravalles–the Rincon de la Vieja volcano is less than an hour from Liberia, capital of Guanacaste. Rincon de la Vieja National Park has adventures for the whole family. You can hike various trails, cruise the Rio Negro, go camping or stay at one of the many haciendas inside the national park. Many of the haciendas offer highly recommended combo tours. These tours, either on foot or horseback, explore the various volcanic formations that make this region so unique. You’ll visit fumaroles, mud pools, hike to the waterfalls and stop for a relaxing soak in one of the several natural volcanic hot springs.
Rincon de la Vieja, now part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in Costa Rica. The horseback riding and hiking trails are among the best the country has to offer. Some of the most popular trails include a visit to the waterfalls where you can swim in the crisp, cool water.
Flora and Fauna
The area around the Rincon volcano is also an excellent location for wildlife watching. You can spot howler, spider and white-faced monkeys as well as a variety of phenomenal birds including the Great Curassow and Aracari Toucans.
While you are trying to spot these creatures, do not forget to explore the park’s abundantly varied flora! The park includes an amazing amount of protected orchids such as the Guaria Morada (the national flower of Costa Rica).
Rincon de la Vieja has a long list of unforgettable adventure tours. Try white water rafting down the Rio Negro or taking spectacular canopy tours. Combine zip lining, repelling and waterfall hiking with a canyoning tour. If you’re ready for a full day of adrenaline pumping adventure, you can sign up for a one day adventure pass, which combines zip lining, rafting, repelling and more!
Thermal Hot Springs and Spas
Relax and detoxify in the naturally heated hot springs in Rincon de la Vieja National Park. After you soak in the hot springs cover your skin in heated volcanic clay for the full volcano experience!
In addition to the natural thermal springs within the park, some of the upscale lodges feature posh on-site spas. They offer healing mud baths, steam rooms, saunas and an array of massages and treatments. After a long day of adventures, unwind with a delicious chocolate body wrap or treat yourself to an indulgent facial and neck massage. In conclusion, the perfect ending to an adventure packed day!
If you want to experience the amazing outdoors but also want to learn more about the traditions on which the Guanacaste culture is built, you can combine some of the park’s most popular attractions with a visit to a real cattle ranch. Guanacaste province has a long history of cattle ranching and the area surrounding the national park is dotted with several working ranches. A handful of these have opened eco-lodges that invite travelers to experience their cowboy heritage first-hand. You’ll ride ranch horses and learn all about cattle farming while taking in the magnificence of your surroundings.
Visit November-April: For the best weather conditions, plan your vacation to Rincon de la Vieja between November and April.
Book a combo tour: Combo tours allow you to get the most out of all the adventure and nature attractions available in the park.
Wear sunscreen: Guanacaste is the province with the least amount of rainfall and the fiercest sun. Prepare for your visit by bringing factor 50 sunblock and a sunhat. Also remember to bring the bug repellent!
Pack hiking gear and a bathing suit: If you plan on going for a hike, bring good hiking shoes. Considering the the variety of thermal hot springs, waterfalls and relaxing activities offered by surrounding spas you don’t want to forget your swimming gear either!
Bring waterproof bags for your camera and phone: If you plan on touring the Rio Negro, make sure you protect your gadgets by bringing waterproof bags to keep them in during the tour.
Where to Stay
Located about 20km from Liberia, Rincon de la Vieja has a nice selection of accommodations ranging from rustic to luxurious. Since the town sits on the outskirts of the city, most hotels and lodges are all-inclusive, providing their guests all meals and activities.
For a more rustic option, pay a visit to the charming and friendly Hacienda Guachipelin, cozily tucked away in the rainforests of Rincon de la Vieja. If you want some extra relaxation, read more about the Blue River Resort & Hot Springs for a selection of spacious cabins and a magnificent pool. Would you like to see the full workings of a sustainable Eco lodge? Look no further than the Rincon de la Vieja Lodge, located closest to the park. 70% of their land is dedicated to eco-friendly projects.
Closest International Airport: Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR)
With the Daniel Oduber International Airport now located in Liberia, getting to this beautiful area is easier than ever before. Should you travel from San Jose to Liberia, you can take a domestic flight for around $40, depending on the season. Private transfers from Liberia are a fast and easy way to get to your hotel from the airport. They cost around $200. Shared shuttles are a more affordable option between $50 and $100. You may also choose to rent a car from the airport or Liberia.
If you want an unforgettable dining experience in Ricon de la Vieja, look no further than your own hotel. Since the park is pretty far removed from the nearest city and the locals are working hard to keep the natural integrity intact, every hotel mentioned on our website offers a full restaurant service of the highest quality! If you would like to eat out anyway, we recommend Restaurante Camino al Cerro located on the road between Liberia and Rincon de la Vieja. It’s the perfect place to make a short stop after your long journey to Guanacaste.